The details of how Jeffrey Epstein died in his Manhattan jail cell over the weekend have yet to be released. Medical officials have performed an autopsy on the high-profile inmate accused of sexually abusing underage girls, but are remaining silent about the billionaire’s strange death.
Epstein’s abrupt death Saturday cut short a criminal prosecution that could have pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of a high-flying financier with connections to billionaires, celebrities and politicians.
Epstein, 66, had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years behind bars on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month. He had pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial.
Epstein was rumored to have begun cooperating with investigators when he suddenly died; prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating.
According to one report, Epstein told guards he feared someone was trying to kill him just weeks ago.
New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement that the autopsy on Epstein was performed Sunday.
However, she did not release a official determination, saying it was “pending further information.”
Sampson said she allowed a private pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, to observe the examination at the request of Epstein’s lawyers.
“Today, a medical examiner performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein,” Sampson said. “The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time. At the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice.”
Baden was the city’s chief medical examiner in the late 1970s and has been called as an expert witness in high-profile cases.
He was the chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations’ Forensic Pathology Panel that investigated the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.
The manner in which Epstein died remains a mystery and a number of conspiracy theories have been circulating.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck, according to the person familiar with the matter. But he was taken off the watch at the end of July.
Attorney General William Barr said Monday the Justice Department has already found “serious irregularities” at the Manhattan jail where Epstein was being held, adding that the facility “failed to adequately secure this prisoner.”
Barr also issued a stern warning, saying the case was far from over and that anyone who may have conspired with Epstein “should not rest easy.”
Last week, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released, related to a since-settled lawsuit against Epstein’s ex-girlfriend by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers. The records contain graphic allegations against Epstein, as well as the transcript of a 2016 deposition of Epstein in which he repeatedly refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
The federal investigation into the allegations remains ongoing, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. He noted in a statement Saturday that the indictment against Epstein includes a conspiracy charge, suggesting others could face charges in the case.
U.S. authorities have said Epstein also had a residence in Paris and used a fake Austrian passport to travel to France in the 1980s.
The French government called for prosecutors to open an investigation into Epstein’s links to France, with the secretaries of state for women’s rights and protecting children releasing a statement Monday.
The statement said it was “fundamental” to launch an investigation in France so that Epstein’s death “doesn’t deprive the victims of the justice they deserve” and to protect other girls from “this kind of predator.”
The Paris prosecutor’s office did not immediately comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this article